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Published: Jun.22.2012

Searching for Cold Fusion: Conventional Heat Generation Processes and Measurement Artifacts in Gas-Loading Experiments

O. Dmitriyeva1,2, R. Cantwell2, M. McConnel2, and G. Moddel1 (sponsored by Henry Bauer)
1 Department of Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder CO 80309-0425, U.S.A. Email: [email protected]
2 Coolescence LLC, 2450 Central Ave Ste F, Boulder CO 80301, U.S.A.

Experiments in low-energy nuclear reactions (LENR), which used to be referred to as cold fusion, have been reported for liquid electrolyte (the Pons-Fleischmann effect) and gas phase systems. Many laboratories have observed excess heat in these systems and interpreted this as evidence for nuclear reactions. We have replicated and carefully analyzed the results of gas phase reactions. In the experiments reported here, we examined whether conventional heat- generation processes and measurement artifacts could account for at least some of these observations.

We carried out an experimental study of excess heat production during hydrogen and deuterium loading of Pd-, Pt-, and Ni-enriched material. Earlier studies have shown that a conventional hydrogen/deuterium (H/D) chemical exchange reaction in water can account for at least some of excess heat observed during gas-loading experiments. We have found that metal in its nanoparticle form catalyzes H/D exchange reactions in the material and produces heat that might be mistaken for a nuclear reaction. That excess heat can be eliminated by prebaking the material in vacuum at 390oC, thereby removing residual water. We also studied the influence of temperature gradients on heat measurements. The presence of gas changes drastically the heat conduction inside the vessel. Therefore, when under pressure, the heat transfer efficiency changes. This change in heat transfer in the presence of temperature gradients artificially shifts the temperature measurement baseline, which could be mistaken for excess heating. We suggest it is crucial to test the measurement system with inert gas to eliminate potential measurement errors induced by temperature gradients.